It’s December 19, only a few hours to midnight. A chill hangs in the Southern California air as low clouds shroud jagged mountains and bristling pines in a way that evokes the forest moon of Endor. People cut across the parking lot, hands driven deep in their pockets, toward the movie theater ablaze with light and filled with excited speculation. A young man weaves through the crowd in a billowing black cloak and Kylo Ren helmet, crossguard lightsaber at his side, and kids jump out of his way with shrieks and nervous laughs. …


Illustration by JR Fleming

There’s a scene in Jurassic World (2015) that I just can’t get over: the one in which the park’s owner, Simon Masrani, confronts his chief geneticist, Dr. Henry Wu. Masrani accuses Wu of creating a literal monster, the rampaging, genetically-modified Indominus rex. Wu retorts, “You’re acting like we’re engaged in some kind of mad science. But we are doing what we have done from the beginning. Nothing in Jurassic World is real… but you didn’t ask for reality, you asked for more teeth.”

This pithy directive — “more teeth” — is fascinating. First, it invites the viewer to consider Jurassic…


When joining a conversation or reading about Stranger Things, I always hear people shouting about “nostalgia.”

“This is NOSTALGIA PROGRAMMING!”

“THE NOSTALGIA TREND!”

The implication, of course, being that the only people who could possibly like Stranger Things (or something like the upcoming Top Gun sequel) are those that actually remember the era in question: In this case, Americans going through puberty in the mid-’80s, who frequently hit the local Starcourt mall in some version of Eleven’s gaudy romper and/or spent all their quarters on Dragon’s Lair and Orange Juliuses.

And my counter to these “NOSTALGIA!” hand-wavers is always the…

Tricia Aurand

Screenwriter, scripter for Lessons from the Screenplay and Wisecrack, podcaster on Beyond the Screenplay, LA dweller. So lucky.

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